Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Rockpool Bar & Grill - Melbourne

Rockpool is one of those institutions that most people in Melbourne and Sydney would have heard of, if you haven't then you must be very good at hiding yourself from mass media juggernauts Masterchef. With every institution comes curiosity for those who haven't dine there. Well hopefully I can help you satisfy some of your curiously.

I am fortunate enough to have dined at Rockpool a number of times over the years for various celebrations. I will share my most recent experience with you. I don't get many nights out with Doggy Mummy (DM) so when I do we like to go somewhere nice especially if it's a celebration, Rockpool also happens to be one of DM's favourite places to dine at, so it armed me with a reason to go there.

To start we got a pasta each, DM wanted the lobster omelette but unfortunately it was not on the menu (their menu changes daily) so instead she opted for the Abalone, Brown Mushroom Pasta. For those who are unaware, abalone is a considered a seafood delicacy and is hard to come by. The abalone was cooked with brown butter and bottarga. Besides saying I wanted more, I don't think I could fault the dish.

I ordered the Wagyu Bolognaise. This is one of my favourite things to order here, Bolognaise is one of my favorite food and there is nothing I like better than a classic done with top grade ingredients. I like to consider this a guilty pleasure and treat to myself.

For mains we ordered a streak each. 36 month grass fed cooked medium rare for me. This was cooked perfectly, the meat was tender and it makes me wonder why I would go anywhere else for steak.

DM went with the 36 month rib eye medium rare. It was highly marbled with distinctive beef flavours.

Sides we got dutch potatoes sauteed with wagyu fat, garlic and rosemary. We really didn't need it but I couldn't say no to potato with wagyu fat. It was fluffy and had a great hit of flavour.

To balance out the guilt we also got the Radicchio salad. Good green crunch to cut through the heaviness with the rest of our meal.

For dessert, DM went with the Creme Brulee (I really had no idea how she was still fitting this in). It had the perfect burnt sugar top and paired with candied walnuts

I opted for the petite fours. A nice selection to finish my meal, I love a good canele and this definitely hit the spot.

Overall, I still love it and highly recommend any steak lovers to come and try it (if you haven't before).

  Rockpool Bar & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, July 4, 2016

Aqua S

Ice cream is one of my favourite foods. No matter the weather, I will always have appetite for some ice cream action. This was no different for Aqua S, and on a cold winter's night, I decided to venture out to QV to visit the recently opened store.

I have been to Aqua S in Sydney so the concept was nothing to me. However, I do love soft serves and have a soft spot for all the novelties it comes with.

D loves their sea salt so I got the sea salt and pandan flavour with fairy floss, popcorn, popping candy and toasted marshmallow. I will admit I probably dig go over-board with the topping but it was worth it. The pandan flavor was fragrant but I would have liked it to be strong as I love all things pandan flavoured. The sea salt was not as salty compared to what I had in Sydney, however, it was still quite a good balance with the sweetness but just a touch more salt would have been perfect. 

Overall it is a fun concept. It is more on the pricey side; my order cost me $8.50 (I could have got a large soft serve for an extra 50 cents but I chose not to) but I accept it's the price for creativity and getting to taste a flavour I can't readily get elsewhere.

Aqua S Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Brass Coq

The Brass Coq is located on 470 Little Lonsdale, and I will be frank and admit that I had never heard of it until my friend told me about this place. As I don't work near that area, I will never walk past it either. However I am very glad that I did find out about it. It's a quirky, modern setting and they set out to do 'good home styled' Vietnamese food. I love Vietnamese food, so when O and A told me about it I said yes straight away.

We started off with Spring Rolls. They were crispy on the outside and had a mixed pork and prawn filling. Along with the fish sauce it was a good start to the meal.

VFC (Vietnamese Fried Chicken) were finger licking good. The crispy batter over the chicken ribs then paired with chilli, fried shallots, spring onions and nouc mam glaze. It was a great fusion interpretation of the classic fried chicken. I loved it and I will be definitely getting this again on my next visit.

Green Papaya Salad was fresh and a good way to balance out the other fried starters. The citrus from the grapefruit and the nouc mam cut through the heaviness of the other dishes and the herbs, carrot and papaya gave that fresh bite.

Grilled Pork Neck Skewers - succulent and marinated pork neck with crushed peanuts and served wrapped in lettuce and noodles. Reminds me of the amazing street food in Asia.

Pig ears chips. Thinly sliced pig ears deep fried. Personally I wasn't a fan, but I can understand the appeal as alternative to fried potato chips.

For mains we started with Hanoi Lamb Curry which was interesting. I won't say it was my favorite, as I found it too salty for my liking. If it wasn't so salty it would have been a great main, the lamb was soft, and the coconut curry was smooth and gave the curry great depth of flavour.

Steak with pho jus and triple cooked chips was the next main we shared. I can't say I have ever had pho jus before so I wasn't sure what to expect. The steak was cooked medium with a just pink centre. The pho jus was rich but it didn't remind me of pho, it tasted more like an aromatic gravy. I quite enjoyed it, especially when I dipped the triple cooked chips into it.

Beanshoots was done just the way my mum would stir fry it; with a bit of garlic and ginger. Basic, warming and I can tell mum I ate my vegetables!

Durian & Passionfruit parfait. I know not everyone is a fan of durian so this may not appeal to everyone. For those who do, you are in for a treat! The smooth durian with a pop of passionfruit. Who knew you could make durian taste so sexy?

Banana pudding was steamed with palm caramel and served with coconut custard and praline. At this point I was so full but it was so spongy and soft... I think I almost killed myself trying to eat it..... but it was worth it.

Overall I was really surprised with the calibre of food plated up. I spoke to one of the owners there and his vision was just to show Melbourne what good home cooked Vietnamese is like. I think he smack on delivered. I enjoyed my meal and I can't wait to go back.

They also have some mean cocktail making skills too.... we had quite a few drinks there. You wouldn't pick it but I would definitely recommend you try their cocktails.

The Brass Coq Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, June 20, 2016

Cafe Delaville

Mid week lunch cravings sent me walking up Toorak Road. Awhile back I was invited to an event at Cafe Delaville but wasn't able to make it. I was always curious about it and since it was so close to me at the time. It felt like it was my calling to go.

Normally I don't like to go alone as I can never decide on sweet or savory. As much as I love sweets, I don't feel like my hunger is satisfied if I get just a sweet dish. So being along I ordered a savory dish.

After pondering I went with Cafe De La Ville Benedict. This tends to be my go to whenever I can't decide. Unlike a traditional Benedict, they did it with pork belly. It was served with poached egg, watercress salad, apple cider hollandaise and apple puree. I found the pork belly to be too heavy for my liking. However the different versions of apple sauce was quite enjoyable.

Overall it served up a decent meal. Would I travel out of my way to come here? No. Would I come again? Yes, if i was in the area and I want to try a sweet dish next time.

Café de la Ville Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, June 11, 2016


On our most recent trip to Europe, D and I paid a visit to Relais Entrecote in Paris. From my understanding it is considered an institution over there, with the lines out the door each night testament to that (and this is at several of their restaurants). Because we absolutely loved the Relais Entrecote restaurants in Paris, of course we had to give this Melbourne restaurant a go. Needless to say, we had high expectations of being able to find a good Steak Frites in Melbourne.

Upon entering, the service was friendly, with the place half to three quarters full. Being a French restaurant, the atmosphere was cosy inside. After being given menus, they also brought some bread with butter. The bread wasn't warm which was disappointing, but it was fresh and was very nice.

For entree D ordered the escargots and I ordered the Onion Soup Gratinee. The Onion Soup had a beautiful consistency to it, with just enough Onion flavour broken up by the Gruyere cheese croutons. It looks on the small side, but it is a heavy dish, so I was glad we were sharing. 
The escargots were full of flavour, namely butter and herbs, which kind of took away from the actual escargot. However, this has always been my reservation with ordering escargot; all you get is butter and herbs from the few times I have it. It tasted every bit like how escargots are served in France, so it is still a tick from me.

Of course for mains we both got the Steak Frites. This is why you come here, and it did not disappoint. The fries were crispy and well seasoned, and were even nicer when they soaked up the excess sauce from the steak . The green sauce is simply translated to a butter and herb sauce, and it really is the perfect accompaniment to the whole dish. It is not too heavy, and tasty with the steak. It wasn't exactly the same as that found in Paris, but it is close enough.
The steak was still pink inside, it was cooked perfectly for medium rare and meat was tender. The steak itself was a little underseasoned, but the sauce more than made up for it (which I think is the aim). The actual dish doesn't look all that big when it arrives, but trust me, it is a heavy dish. Both of us still had leftover fries at the end..

Overall, the fitout was modern, and the staff were friendly. The entrees were well done, and the steak cooked perfectly. It is a little pricey though, so not the best value in town. All in all, definitely worth a visit to try the Steak Frites especially to get an idea of classic French cooking done well.

Entrecôte Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Academy Kitchen & Bar

Located on Bridge Road, Academy Kitchen is in the fast growing section past Church Street. It is headed up by Will Manning (impressive Chef Hat CV including The Botanical)

Melbourne Glutton and I decided to spend our Saturday night here. We weren't sure what to expect as Academy is not fine dining the same way that Botanical was, but Will's background is fine dining, either way we were both very excited. There was quite a few things on the menu that excited us but it was hard to choose so we decided to leave it up to them to feed us.

To start we got Oysters natural with mignonette. The oyster was fresh and creamy, we only got 2. I think I could have eaten half a dozen by myself.

Salt and Pepper Calamari came after. This came with orange, fennel and chilli mayonnaise. It was golden yellow. I liked the citrus pairing with the chilli mayo, it was refreshing yet creamy.

Next starter was Duck and Truffle Parfait. With chutney and toasted brioche, it was devine. I love all things fatty and bad for me. This hit that spot, the smooth buttery parfait with the brioche was so good, we asked for extra brioche so no parfait went to waste.

For pasta we got Goats Cheese Tortellini. It was served with ratatouille and tomato foam. The fresh made pasta was perfectly cooked and ratatouille balanced out the goat cheese to give a well rounded mouthful.

Mains we got Pan Roasted Snapper served with dragoncello, fried potatoes and green tomato salad. The snapper was crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. The fried potatoes were a guilty pleasure too.

Dessert was Tiramisundae. This was made up of coffee mascarpone, marsala soaked sponge and chocolate sorbet. It was decadent and full of rich coffee aromas. If I wasn't so full, I would have finished the whole thing on my own.

Other dessert we shared was Ricotta terrine. It came with lemon mousse, figs and pistachios. Personally I am not a big fig fan so I was biased and went towards the tiramisundae more. MG enjoyed it so between the 2 of us, we made sure we have a good balance amount of dessert in our belly.

Overall I was very happy I got this invite. The food was better than I anticipated and I can't wait to take D back to try more things on the menu.

Academy Kitchen and Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May Day

A while back a few of the girls and I decided to catch up and try a new brunch spot. It is not often I get to see other foodies outside events, so it was a great excuse to try out a new place and take heaps of  photos without making someone wait (since we usually are the ones with our cameras out). We decided on May Day (a new additon to the Axil family) located on Bridge Road in Richmond.  We got there around 11 on a Sunday and it was pumping. Luckily for us, the wait was only around 15 minutes which wasn't bad considering how busy it looked.

Once we were seated they were quick to come around with our menus but not so quick to take our orders. It was pretty clear at the time that they were still a very new operation, and were ironing out the kinks for a smooth service time.

Once our drinks were on the way we quickly got our food order in too, as it was busy and we didn't want to wait too long for the food to arrive.

Hungry Cookie went with the S'more Chocolate Waffles. Torched marshmallows, cookie parfait and topped with salted caramel and chocolate fudge. This was more of a dessert than breakfast meal. The chocolate was heavy but I am very sure that a kid will happily smash this down as breakfast.

Confessions of a Piggy and I both went with the Chargrilled Cauliflower. This came with feta, smoked almonds, a poached egg, cauliflower puree and finished with truffle oil. I quite enjoyed the flavour combinations, it was a nice savoury dish without being too heavy. I would have liked some bread to soak up the egg, but other than that it hit the brunch spot for me.

MG went with the Citrus Cured Ocean Trout. It came with a poached egg, potato and fennel croquettes finished with beetroot puree on top. The fish was light with a tang and the croquette gave it that bit more of a brunch feel without being too heavy.

Overall the menu was good but not great. Having said that, I will be going back a bit later when hopefully they ironed out the small things and to try the next edition of their menu. I felt it was very new and things could go more smoothly and there is definitely room for improvement to take it to the next level.

  Mayday Coffee and Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato